I love Sophie Dahl cookbooks, so this weekend’s Cookbook Review is Sophie Dahl’s From Season To Season.
I love that she divides her chapters into seasons and starts with Autumn… my favourite season, mainly because its all about scarves and boots for me. The lighting on the photography is very natural showing that shadows are equally important as light. The food styling is very honest, not overly messy but still very natural. The propping is very lovely, lots of textures – sometimes lovely fabrics other times old scarred chopping boards or a wooden surface. The plates and fabrics are a mix of old and new… not to vintage but they have a nice retro, homely feel.
On the whole it’s a lovely book, I don’t cook from it much but I do enjoy the photos and the nostalgic stories that she writes to go along with the recipes.
I’ve lived in Milton Keynes for over ten years and yet I never realised that there was an MK Museum. I was even more surprised to discover what a wonderful, interesting and interactive museum it was. Lots of rooms to explore in and old house, with Victorian musical instrument to play, vintage toys, an old school room, a Victorian kitchen where we were encouraged to cook toast on the fire. There was an old village with all the shops to look in… it was just wonderful. We had the place pretty much to ourselves, with a few volunteers around to reassure you it was okay to touch, turn and pick things up.
I loved it… I saw so many things that I wanted to use as props in my food photography, lots of lovely old tins, plates, kitchen equipment… everything! What a magical place!!
This week I was to shoot the prep stages of bread and pizza bases. I’m not usually into hands being in shots as I don’t think you have to be that obvious to suggest a human interest in food photography, however the client insisted that this was what they wanted. When I finished the shoot I was pleasantly surprised as I thought they actually looked really nice.
The one question I’m always asked as a food photographer is ‘Do you shoot real food or is it fake?’ In the past it was popular to use tricks to help the food withstand the length of a photoshoot by using dummy plastic food, mash potato for ice cream, motor oil as syrup etc. But I always shoot the real thing to keep everything looking as natural and honest as possible. I find a brush of oil or juices onto meat to refresh it is enough to keep the dish looking fresh.
For my recent Christmas food shoot I picked up a little tip from our food stylist who was brushing the turkeys with mix of marmite, washing up liquid and cooking oil. Using a small paint brush she covered any pale patches on the turkeys in places were the bird hadn’t naturally brown, to give a lovely even colour all over. Great tip.
Last weekend was the Woburn Village Festival, an annual event in my village that I really look forward to. The festival used to known as the Oyster Festival because it was all about eating Oysters, drinking beer and listening to live music. Last year it changed to the Village Festival to make it more a family event, they still sell Oysters and have live music, but it’s not quite the same. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of antique stalls there this year and picked up a lovely little vintage Hovis tin for only £4… bargain!
Last week was so exciting, we’ve been shooting a set of recipes for Downton Abbey as soon as I heard about this project I couldn’t wait to start shooting. I loved putting together mood boards for the styling and gathering my favourite images on Pinterest for food styling ideas, table settings and props.
Some of the recipes we were given to shoot were fabulous, my favourites was the Chicken with rose petal sauce.
We had and incredible selection of beautiful vintage props, plates and cutlery to choose from which made shooting it such a pleasure. Really proves how important the right props are.
Downton Abbey props
All our lovely cutlery for the shoot
Lovely little vintage pots
My set with the Rhubarb Flummery about to be shot
Table setting for the shoot
This has got to be one of my favourite shots ever. I love the chip in the foreground with the ketchup on, when I look at it I can taste it. I used a news paper to prop this shot as I was promoting the fact that these are British chips and I wanted a really ‘real’ feel to the shot which is why we styled it in a messy style… lots of salt pepper and sauce. I’m so happy with how it turned out.
Love these images so much, they were part of a food shoot I did last week for Autumn apple and pear recipe cards. I decided to keep the props really simple keeping the focus on the food, with subtle food styling (a few crumbs here and there) to prevent the shot looking too static.
I came across Apples For Jam about five or six years ago, it was the first cookbook that really inspired me to get into food photography as for the first time ever I looked at food photography in a totally different light.
The images in this book really tell a story, give you a sense of place, time of day and occasion. It was the first time that I had seen images full of not just food but fun props, toys, books, vintage tins and wonderful used crockery. It opened my eyes as before this book I was just used to seeing very clean, static, perfectly styled food shots and here was this book which really gave you a feeling that this was real, honest food photography.
It’s nowhere near the messy ‘just tucked into’ styling that is currently trending but I do feel it was the step before this and helped guide many photographers and stylist to head into the direction we are all enjoying at the moment.
Written by Tessa Kiros, photographed by Manos Chatzikonstantis and styled by Michail Touros
For the one year anniversary of the day I met my boyfriend I gave him a little book with the reasons why I love him so much on every page. This year for our second anniversary, I made him an Exploding Scrapbook Box, full of photos of us over the last two years. It was a great idea I found on Pinterest, with a tutorial on how to make it, check it out… http://glitteradventure.blogspot.co.uk/2006/11/exploding-box-class.html
I bought the embossed blue card from Hobbycraft and was delighted to find a pack of ‘Gorjuss’ scrapbooking craft papers by Suzanne Woolcott and a date stamper by K&Company SMASH… amazing. I loved how it turned out, who knows why handmade idea I’ll come up with next year!